And so it begins.
We told Armando that Johnny would be showing clips from the debate for weeks to come, cutting up things to show how he “won”, and how Armando “lost”. Some thoughts:
1) I tend to agree with Johnny that “testimony” is pretty subjective, and anyone can have one. However, Johnny, what do you do with the fact that it is Biblical to have a testimony? The word “testimony” comes from the root Greek word “martys”, which simply means “a witness” in a legal, historical or ethical sense. This word is found several times in the NT. One example, in Acts 22:18, the apostle Paul tells of a warning: “And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.”
So could you explain where you get the authority to deny the place of a “testimony” in the Christian experience?
2) I’ve sat through half a dozen episodes of “What Does the Bible Say?” waiting for Johnny to tell me what the Bible says about his argument for his interpretation of Scripture that miracles have ceased. He mentioned it briefly in the debate, but unless I missed it, he never explained it fully. And the burden of proof lies on Johnny to explain this, since the Bible is full of stories of people experiencing miracles and healings.
What about 1 Corinthians 12:9?
3) Johnny was correct when he says that everyone who was healed by Jesus received their healing before the day was out. But, was that setting a pattern?
4) Future Callers: don’t bring up Johnny’ past. As Randy said, this is irrelevant. Do you know that quite a few Christians, who are decent, moral, Godly people, have checkered pasts? This the amazing thing about the Gospel – that it redeems us from our past. It’s a wasted point to call in and bring up Johnny’s past. Just argue his doctrine! There’s enough faulty there that we don’t have to go digging into his past.
5) Johnny had a phone call from a man who asked where non-Church of Christ relatives who had died are now. Johnny quoted John 3:13 that says, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which is in heaven.” to show that people who have died are in a sort of “limbo” (which sounded eerily like the Catholic purgatory). However, as I read that verse and consider the context, I disagree with Johnny’s interpretation. I read it as not teaching that no one has ever seen or entered heaven. It teaches that no man ever climbed up into heaven by his own power. The only one who has ever ascended to heaven in His own strength is the One who originated in heaven and came down to earth before He ascended. Two examples to illustrate: Elijah and Enoch.
Genesis 5:24 “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”
Hebrews 11:5 “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his
translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” (Oh! A testimony that pleased God!)
2 Kings 2:1 “And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
2 Kings 2:11 “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and
parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.”
So, it would seem that there is precedent for people being taken into heaven. Now, Johnny argued last night that there are apparently different levels of heaven, and he used Paul’s testimony to prove it: 2 Cor 12:2 “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.”
I appreciated that Johnny spoke about not understanding this. It was the closest I’ve ever heard him come to admitting that he had his own interpretation about Scripture (although he certainly didn’t say that).
However, Jesus did tell the thief on the cross, “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43, and that Greek word “paradeisos” can be translated “heaven”.
6) I was surprised to hear Johnny say that it was fine for children to believe in Santa Claus. But, then, since he doesn’t celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, I can see why he’d feel this way. Glad to hear that they give gifts in the Robertson household on December 25.
Finally, I was watching the program with a friend who doesn’t often watch our CofC preachers. At the conclusion, I asked what he thought. His main complaint was that Johnny’s use of clips, where he will edit the clip to repeat his main point over and over, was “audio torture”. In other words, it didn’t help Johnny’s argument, but just came off as irritating. I agree! I told this to James Oldfield months ago, and he said that repetition is a teaching tool. Well, this kind of repetition is just plain annoying.
But, Johnny and James just love doing it! So, since it really hurts their cause for them to continue doing it, I’ll not encourage them to change. Norm Fields, you need to start doing this repetition thing, too!
Well, that’s about it. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!